UnitedHealth Group Steps Up in Support of Homeless Youth with StandUp for Kids

July 14 2020

StandUp for Kids - Orange County

UnitedHealth Group is one of America’s largest health care companies with a mission to help people live healthier lives and help the health care system work better for everyone. While the company works on a global scale to positively impact health care, it understands the unique and immediate needs local communities face and works to support those as well. That includes assisting StandUp for Kids in Orange County.

“I am really honored to work at a company that is so socially responsible, even at the heart,” says Diana Lyon.

Lyon has worked at Optum, a UnitedHealth Group company, for almost seven years in data analytics and reporting while also serving in the company's Employee and Community Engagement Committee (ECEC). Through the ECEC, Lyon helps to provide opportunities for employees to donate their time to charitable causes, and it was her involvement in the ECEC that led her to discover StandUp for Kids.

Also on the ECEC leadership team is UnitedHealthcare’s Kimberly Marsh-Koontz, who has been with the company for nearly 34 years.

“I have been part of the volunteer system for almost as many years as I have been with UnitedHealthcare, doing different types of volunteer work. It’s meaningful and fun because it has allowed me to volunteer at a whole plethora of events,” she recalls.


United Healthcare ECEC at a past volunteer event

The StandUp for Kids' Gala last year was one such event where Lyon, Marsh-Koontz and other ECEC members volunteered. They were further intrigued by the impact of the work being done to help homeless youth.

“We heard some testimonials and came away saying, ‘WOW!’ You can read something but hearing somebody speak about it is so much more powerful. It is amazing what StandUp for Kids is doing,” Lyon says. She has since connected the ECEC with the work StandUp for Kids is doing through mentorship, providing the opportunity for employees to virtually volunteer even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volunteerism during this time when many events and programs have been cancelled presents unique difficulties. Even so, UnitedHealth Group’s local Southern California employees have stepped up to the challenge. During this time, StandUp for Kids has continued making an impact on the youth in the community, with the Virtual Walk/Run fundraiser UnitedHealth Group volunteers have created their own team to raise money for the virtual event.
(See their team’s virtual campaign progress and consider joining or donating here: https://www.ohwhatfund.com/team_campaign/5ea9f1524d2aa6003f1f9006).

These UnitedHealth Group employees are also participating in online mentoring sessions, that fill the gap for programs that were previously done in person. United Health Group employees host virtual lunches where they meet with the youth via computer to share stories and answer questions.

UnitedHealth Group’s ECEC is quickly becoming a valuable partner. We are thankful for their commitment to supporting us now and in the future. Ironically, social distancing has brought volunteers closer to us, and we hope to see how creativity and collaboration can help us accomplish our mission to support homeless youth in need.

If you are also interested in joining this spirit and supporting StandUp for Kids, please contact justines@standupforkids.org.

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